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The Town Hall

A Grade II* Listed Building in Wokingham, Wokingham

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4103 / 51°24'36"N

Longitude: -0.8337 / 0°50'1"W

OS Eastings: 481211

OS Northings: 168561

OS Grid: SU812685

Mapcode National: GBR D7R.D1W

Mapcode Global: VHDX2.HTM8

Entry Name: The Town Hall

Listing Date: 2 October 1969

Last Amended: 10 April 2003

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1303481

English Heritage Legacy ID: 41682

Location: Wokingham, Wokingham, RG40

County: Wokingham

Civil Parish: Wokingham

Built-Up Area: Wokingham

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Wokingham

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Listing Text

WOKINGHAM

1886/18/26 MARKET PLACE
02-OCT-69 THE TOWN HALL

II*

WOKINGHAM MARKET PLACE
SU 8168 NW
18/26 The Town Hall
2.10.69
G.V. II*

Town hall and police station, later also fire station; now town hall and offices, with 4 shops and enclosed market. 1860 with minor late-C20 alterations. (William Ford) Poulton (1822-1900) and (William Henry) Woodman (1822-1879). Wheeler and Woodroffe, craftsmen. High Victorian Free Gothic style. Red brick, with blue brick and limestone dressings used to polychromatic effect. Steeply pitched slate roofs. Brick corbelled chimneys.
PLAN: Triangular plan on island site with 2-storey-plus-attic main range to north, lower wings extending to the south on each side and continuing to wide 1-storey apse that encloses the rear yard. Main range with hall, council chamber and ancillary rooms to first floor, and 4 shops at ground floor.
EXTERIORS: Irregular facades with projecting moulded plinth, buttresses, dentilled and moulded string course at first floor cill level, dentilled and moulded eaves course and parapet cornice and coped gables. Most windows trefoil headed lancets with stone surrounds, mullions and transoms under polychrome pointed arches. NORTH elevation with central section of 4 bays defined by full height buttresses with moulded bases and splayed tops. Each bay with large pointed arched openings to ground floor, now with late-C20 plain glass shop windows, pointed relieving arches in tympanum, first floor large cross windows under 7-light window in trefoil stone surround, all under steep gable with stone copings. Steep pitched roof with 2 tall corbelled chimneys and central tall fleche with 'Tucker of London' clock movement, weathercock, and iron balustraded platform. Lower apsidal ends to east and west with hipped roof and steep gable above 3-light windows to ground and first floors. EAST and WEST elevations both have entrance bay at north end with double doors under pointed arch, tall 3-light window at first floor with iron balcony, and steep 'Chateau' style roof. WEST elevation with secondary entrance and window to ground floor Mayor's chamber, pair of windows above and stone 'County Police Station' plaque to centre under gablet with stone coping. Elaborate oriel to south end has 3 lancets with stone ogee arches. SOUTH elevation with wide 1-storey 'apse' with central wide opening under steep pointed gable, deep 'X' pattern brick frieze, and view to the numerous chimneys, gables and fleche of the higher ranges.
INTERIOR: Main range has first floor hall of 4 bays with elaborate chamfered hammer-beam truss roof with carved stone corbel blocks and shields painted with coats-of-arms of past and present High Stewards of Wokingham. Wide carved stone fireplace to centre of west wall. Smaller stone fireplace in outside wall to northeast corner. At east end, a tall pointed arch with wooden panelled sliding doors to War Memorial room, with wooden carved and moulded memorial on east wall and stone fireplace in corner. At west end, a small council chamber with a band of wooden panelling carved with names of past mayors. Corridor running east-west along the hall to balconies at opposite ends. Town council office with oriel window and fireplace. Mayor's parlour at ground floor in former police superintendent's chamber. Two prison cells with barred iron doors and locks.
HISTORY: The Town Hall stands on the site of the Medieval Guildhall, which was demolished in 1858. The new Town Hall was opened on June 6, 1860 by Lord Braybrooke. It was funded in part by money available for a new County Police Station, and the building jointly housed the police until 1905 when the new police station was built. Two of the original three prison cells survive. In 1877, the Fire Brigade housed a horse-drawn fire engine in the covered market, and this use continued until 1969 when the fire station was built. The building also housed a covered market under the arches, which are now used as individual shops.
SOURCES: V.C.H. Vol.lll p.226; Buildings of England, Berkshire, p.308; The Illustrated London News June 23, 1860 p.616. Cunningham, Colin. 'Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls' (1981).

Group value with the listed buildings around the perimeter of the site and the dated 1881 Drinking Fountain (q.v.) and K6 Telephone Kiosk (q.v.) immediately adjacent to the Town Hall.

Listing NGR: SU8121168561


This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 25 October 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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